atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1088: Quiet Sunday morning.

I got hotcakes!

...I woke up with a hankering for pancakes. The nearest McDonald's is a 24/7joint, so I went and got two orders of hotcakes and a McSkillet.

I didn't need the McSkillet. Six pancakes and two sausage patties later I am stuffed with griddley goodness. Fortunately, the McSkillet burrito--like all members of the burrito family--reheats well when exposed to a controlled application of microwave RF energy.

* * *

As I was waking up early this morning I was thinking about my favorite scene from the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Majikthise: I am Majikthise.
Vroomfondel: And I demand that I am Vroomfondel!
M: (sotto voce) It's all right, you don't need to demand that.
V: I am Vroomfondel! And that is a solid fact. What we demand are solid facts!
M: (sotto voce) NO! That's exactly what we don't demand!
V: We don't demand solid facts! We demand a complete absence of solid facts! I demand that I may--or may not--be Vroomfondel.
Computer programmer: Who are you?
M: We are philosophers.
V: Though we may not be!
M: Yes we are! And we are most definitely here because of that machine of yours.

* * *

You fail at lying. Short form: girl is pulled over for driving as if she's drunk. Blood alcohol level tests at 0.15%, which is twice the legal limit where she was. Her excuse?

"My boyfriend was drunk and we'd been kissing."

Yeah, sure. There's no way in fucking hell your BAC is 0.15% when you've just been kissing someone who's been drinking. Okay? It's just not possible.

Meanwhile, the stupid twit's lawyer says that having the charge "publicized" is "not only embarrassing, but demeaning as well." Apparently her lawyer doesn't understand the definition of "public record" all that well: when you're arrested for something, it's a matter of public record, which means that anyone can look at the documents. There was a pornography case in the early 1980s in which a certain county briefly became the largest distributor of pornographic videotapes because of all the public requests for copies of the evidence. You don't have a right to privacy, particularly not when you're charged with a crime.

See, "demeaning" implies insult: that someone is making fun of you. If any "demeaning" is going on in this case, the girl is doing it to herself with such a stupid and lame excuse.

* * *

Another unsupported Chernobyl assertion lurks here. The story is about some people trying to "salvage" a helicopter from Chernobyl. Problem is, due to neutron activation, the helicopter is significantly radioactive. The article doesn't give figures; it merely says its radioactivity is "30 times the legal level".

What level? Over what time? It doesn't say. Note though that it doesn't say the radiation is actually dangerous (as in, perhaps, "lethal" or "hazardous" or even "harmful") but that the level of radioactivity is 30x a "legal" level.

The helicopter in question was one of several used to fight the reactor fire.

The unsupported assertion? "As a result, many of the helicopter pilots received lethal doses of radiation."

As far as anyone knows, about 60 people have died as a result of exposure to radiation released from Chernobyl. How many of those 60 are helicopter pilots? I don't know and the article doesn't say, but anything more than two can be "many", I suppose, particularly for the mental giants who write stories about nuclear disasters.

The last sentence is meant to give the reader some perspective: "The Chernobyl disaster released at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima." Sure it did. It went on slightly longer than the bombs did. An atom bomb emits radiation for 60 nanoseconds; after that, it's done. All the residual radioactivity (eg fallout) comes from that 60 nanosecond reaction. Total reaction time of bombs used in Japan: 120 nanoseconds. Total reaction time of Chernobyl: years before the core exploded and burned, and then the core was exposed for days. Of course it released "100 times more radiation" than the bombs did.

...but since about 90% of the populace doesn't understand that there are different kinds of radiation and different kinds of exposure to it--since our media oversimplify the issue into "radiation=bad!!!"--I'm afraid that this sort of comparison (however invalid it may be) is going to continue.

* * *

So, about a year or so after nationalizing all petroleum production, Venezuela has to start importing oil.

Yeah, you read that correctly: Venezuela, a member of OPEC, run by communist thug Hugo Chavez, which seized the assets of international oil corporations in order to control the country's petroleum industry, can't pump as much oil from the ground as they need.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it's because Chavez's thugs aren't as good at operating the equipment they stole as were the people who were employed by the original owners. I'm also going to make a further wild-ass guess that the Venezuelan oil thugs are having trouble maintaining and repairing the equipment they stole--hence, lowered production.

Suck it, Hugo.

* * *

Meanwhile, it looks like NASA's Phoenix lander has found subsurface ice on Mars. This is good news for us; it'll make Mars that much easier to terraform....

* * *

Ars Technica today has an article on the "wireless sensitives who are "allergic to WiFi".

A fact I didn't even think about: a typical WiFi hot spot broadcasts at the stunning power of 0.1 W. A tenth of a watt. You can't even feel that amount of energy; if someone was shining a 0.1 W light bulb at your skin, you wouldn't notice any difference.

I think my earlier tirade about this was pretty much dead-on.

* * *

PS For the record, radio frequency electromagnetic radiation doesn't increase your susceptibility to fungus, either, not even if you're a bee.

* * *

Here they are: 2008 Darwin Awards. It always serves to make me wonder that our species has managed to survive this long.
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